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Cincinnati Bell Buyout: MIRA Outbids Brookfield for Telecom MSP

The bidding war for Cincinnati Bell, a telecom service provider with major MSP assets, appears to be over. Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Inc. (MIRA) has outbids Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP), and Brookfield does not plan to counter MIRA's latest $15.50 per share offer,  according to Cincinnati Bell.

The bidding war between MIRA and Brookfield had gone back-and-forth since around December 2019, with multiple bids at increasingly higher valuations surfacing since that time.

Brookfield vs. MIRA: What Was At Stake

Cincinnati Bell owns CBTS and OnX — two MSP (managed IT services provider) subsidiaries that offer end-to-end IT solutions for U.S. and Canadian enterprise customers.

Also, Cincinnati Bell in mid-2018 acquired Hawaiian Telcom to gain scale and fiber network infrastructure. That deal included direct access to the historic SEA-US Trans-Pacific fiber cable linking Asia to the United States.

Brookfield owns and operates a global network of companies in the utilities, transportation, energy, and data infrastructure sectors, with operations throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe. Brookfield Infrastructure is part of Brookfield Asset Management, a global alternative asset manager with more than $500 billion in assets.

MIRA is an alternative asset manager, specializing in infrastructure, real estate and agriculture. The company manages investments in 155 portfolio businesses, approximately 600 properties and 4.7 million hectares of farmland across 33 countries.

Service Provider and Technology Bidding Wars

Cincinnati Bell is the latest technology service provider and solutions provider to publicly disclose an M&A bidding war.

Additional examples include:

Many of the bidding wars have involved private equity firms — which are flush with cash (i.e., “dry powder”) to pursue buyouts.

Indeed, private equity investors are sitting on a record $1.5 trillion in cash as of early 2020, according to Preqin. Yes, that’s trillion — with a T. That is the highest on record and more than double what it was five years ago, CNBC reports. Amid that reality, private equity firms are scrambling to make investments.

M&A activity among IT service providers is off to a strong start for 2020. As of early March, ChannelE2E has already tracked 140 M&A deals in 2020. See the complete M&A deal list here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.